A COVID-19 warrior, Miss England 2019, a genius with an IQ of 146, a doctor with two graduate degrees in medicine, a social worker and a Bengali who loves her ‘alu kabli’, ‘jhalmuri‘ and spicy ‘phuchka‘, 23-year-old Indo- British Dr Bhasha Mukherjee dons many a hat at the same time. She also lives up to her name. Bhasha in Bengali means language and Miss Mukherjee can speak five languages, including Bangla. Right now she is attached to a COVID-19 hospital where she is serving in night shift. In her free time, she is planning for ways in which she can raise charity for West Bengal. She has also made a rainbow necklace in support of the NHS COVID-19 emergency appeal.
She attracted global headlines with her decision to hung her Miss England crown and hold her stethoscope to join NHS and fight COVID-19as a frontline worker in England. Now, Dr Bhasha Mukherjee has stepped forward to help Kolkata where she was born.
In between her hospital shifts, Bhasha took out some time to speak with Times Now regarding West Bengal.
Q. Bhasha first of all thanks for speaking to us out of your busy schedule at the hospital. How are you doing and how’s everything going in London?
A: I’m grateful to be part of the national effort to beat COVID at a time my country needs doctors- things are very busy as usual.
Q: You were born a Bengali and you must be knowing about the devastating cyclone in West Bengal that battered Kolkata and Sunderbans.
A: Yes, it has been heartbreaking for me seeing the images considering I was there less than two months ago myself. I really feel for the homeless and those without secure housing facilities. So many houses razed, so many lives lost.
Q: What is your message for Bengalis out there in West Bengal? They are indeed very heartbroken.
A: See Bengal has come forth time and time again as a resilient force to be reckoned with, from the after-effects of the partition to the Bengal famine. This is a time to stand united and be generous and selfless and share between not just the rich and poor but the middle class and poor, and even the poor and poorer.
Q. What are your plans regarding West Bengal fundraising? Do you want to appeal to the world to come forward and stand with West Bengal and the Times Network initiative “India for Bengal” where we are urging Indians to contribute to the Chief Minister’s Bengal’s Relief Fund?
A: Yes every little help counts. I urge everyone to join the forces and help however they can. I am doing the same in the UK. I am working with a charitable organisation to provide emergency aid for those worse affected by Amphan.
Q: I heard you love spicy street food of Kolkata. Tell me about your memories with West Bengal or Kolkata. Any particular thing with which you feel connected?
A: I still remember the distinct taste of aloo kabli sold on the street in front of Calcutta Girls High School, which I used to get once a week with some loose change when I was still studying at the school. I was under 10 years old but my love for “jhaal” snacks started early when my mother introduced me to street phuchka. Hands down, one of my favourite memories.
Q: You told me about a specific way in which you are seriously working for rebuilding West Bengal. Can you please explain that?
A: I am an ambassador of a Kolkata-based charity organisation which is currently supporting the homeless and street dwelling populations, especially the children during COVID-19 and the aftermath of Amphan. But, I stand with West Bengal in heart and spirit first and foremost. I have appealed to the world to stand with West Bengal through Facebook video messages and will also use other social media tools to raise awareness. I am inundated with hospital shift work but if I had the means to contact these individuals, I absolutely would. I am also always open to doing video appeals. In fact, I have in place a zoom-show to be held on May 31 for appealing people make donations for helping Amphan-affected people in West Bengal.